Australian winner of the Annual Local Hero Award encourages people to name worthy Australians | The Canberra Times

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Rosemary Kariuki says her life has changed dramatically since she was named a local hero. But she also says her life has never been better. The Oran Park resident was named as the recipient of the Local Hero award at the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards. Now she is urging her fellow Australians to nominate people who pass by to make their communities a better place. “Name those people who do so much and give so much for their community,” Ms. Kariuki said. “Name the people who never complain, who never get tired of doing the work.” The more recognition people receive, the more others can see how valuable it is to help others. “They can see the benefit of helping make this country a better place.” The four categories at this year’s awards are Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero. Ms. Kariuki said her life has become much busier over the past year. “I made a lot of verbal engagements, gave a lot of speeches and attended a lot of community and church events – I even went interstate,” she said. “I enjoyed it. I see the change I’m making.” I know my neighbors better and talk to more of the community. “Ms. Kariuki, 60, arrived in Australia in 1999 after fleeing violence in Kenya. She grew up on a farm in the Kenyan town of Eldoret with 16 brothers and sisters. She came from a radical background: her father fought British colonial rule and spent seven years in prison. so she brought humble gifts from Kenya in her suitcase, along with clothes and a few hundred dollars.When she accepted her award last year, Ms Kariuki said that while Australia was a multicultural country she was concerned about communities. lived in silos. “We keep [to] our own people, [to] what is known, and longs for that beautiful sharing of culture, “she said.” I would love to see more Australians, those born here, refugees, migrants, anyone who calls Australia home, [to] open their doors to their neighbors. “Be open and don’t be afraid of any perceived differences because, as humans, we have more similarities than differences.” She encouraged the audience to meet someone new from a different background. “See what doors open to you,” said Mrs. Kariuki. “You might help that person experience their new homeland in a new way, and feel that they belong.” More than 400 women now attend the annual African Women’s Evening Dance established by Mrs. Kariuki – who is now in her 14th year. Ms Kariuki was also the multicultural community liaison officer for the Parramatta Police Area Command. However she recently relocated to Campbelltown City Police Area Command, where she will continue to inspire hope to those in need. She said getting to know your neighbors is a gift. “If you talk to your neighbors and build a community, crime will go down,” she said. “You can meet with each other and come up with ideas or maybe things to do as a picnic or keep a good thing together.” Mrs. Kariuki told the Advertiser last year that she loves living in Camden because of its multicultural community. “People are real, they stop to say‘ hello ’and want to know more,” she said. “They are friendly and the council is engaged with the community.” My neighbors visit me and so do I visit them. We share food, gardening and partying with each other. “Ms Kariuki also said she is grateful to live in Australia.” I am very proud that Australia has welcomed me into their country so that I can educate my boys and also fill those. shortcomings that services do not understand through my volunteering with women and the migrant community. ”she said.“ I also acknowledge the Indigenous peoples of Australia for opening this land to us. Thank you for accepting us migrants and refugees. ”To nominate a worthy Australian in your community, visit:


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